The inauguration of Moses’ brother Aaron as high priest takes place in Leviticus 8. With more than a million in attendance, God kicks off the elaborate ceremony with a bubble bath for not only Aaron, but his two sons called to serve alongside him. What better way to start the day?
Moses has already prepared and gathered the painstakingly detailed priestly garments, the highly fragranced anointing oil consisting of more than 50 pounds of exotic spices dried, powdered and mixed with a gallon of olive oil. A flawlessly perfect bull stands ready and waiting for the atonement offering along with two rams and a basket of freshly baked matzah. The sounds and smells intermingle with the excitement and nervousness of the day.
After washing the priests with water, Moses girds Aaron with a robe, ephod and turban befitting only a priest of the highest order. Each item carries weight and significance as the high priest will stand daily before God representing not only himself, but every single one of God’s people, the good, the bad and the ugly. This is serious business. Even the most microscopic sin will cost the high priest his life and they will have to use a rope to drag his corpse out of God’s presence because no other is qualified to stand before a holy God.
After the priests are squeaky clean and dried off, the next step is the anointing of the tabernacle to sanctify, make holy and set aside everything in it for the service of the Lord. But Moses doesn’t stop there. He pours the oil over Aaron’s head to officially consecrate him and set him apart for God’s purpose. Psalm 133 paints a vivid picture of anointing oil running down Aaron’s beard, flowing down over the bejewelled breastplate inscribed with the 12 tribes to the very bottom of the ornate skirts of his garments, pronouncing the blessing of eternal life for the people of God.
The culmination of the sacrificial offerings brings with it a finality that seals the deal between God and man. One at a time, Aaron and his sons place their hands on the head of the sacrifice as a means of identification and exchange between their sin and the perfect sacrifice. It is the blood that completes the transfer, making the way clear to enter into the Holiest Place.
All of this seems a bit mystical but let’s take it back down to earth for a minute. Although God loves each and every person He has created, the fact remains that He is holy and we are not. That creates a problem because no man can stand before God face to face in his sin and live to tell about it.
Whenever you see an encounter in the Bible between God and man, it is the Angel of the Lord, better known as Jesus Christ. Equal with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit, Jesus is our Mediator or High Priest who comes before God on our behalf. He was and is the Sinless Sacrifice who made the way clear for you to enter into right relationship with the Father.
He said it Himself: “No man comes to the Father except by Me.” Like it or not, that’s the way it is. You can either submit to that or choose to believe there is another way. Although there have been many so-called saviours, I know of only One whose tomb is empty. But don’t go by what I say—study it out for yourself. The most important decision of your life should be based on what someone else believes.
Lee Strobel was a Yale-educated, award-winning investigative journalist who set out to negate the existence of Christ. After two years of intense digging, he ended up writing The Case for Christ and is now employed as a full-time teaching pastor at Willow Creek Community Church in Barrington, Illinois. If you want apologetics, I refer you to one of his many books.
Referring back to the initial cleansing at the beginning of the ceremony, in John 13 Jesus is preparing to wash the feet of His disciples. When he gets to Peter, a question arises as to why Jesus should wash his feet and not the other way around.
Jesus, taking on the role of a lowly servant, answers Peter and tells him unless he allows Him to wash his feet, he can have no part with Him. At that, Peter offers not only his feet, but his hands and his head for Jesus to wash. But Jesus answers him back, saying literally, “He who has bathed need not wash again except his feet.” In Bible times, they may only have showered or bathed once a week, but they washed their feet on a daily basis.
How does that translate to English for you? Once you acknowledge your sin and need of a saviour, repent and commit your life to Christ, you are cleansed by His blood. That is your bathtime. As a believer however, you do not suddenly grow wings and stop sinning, but because you are already clean, you only need to wash your feet—that is, confess your sins on a daily basis to be entirely clean again. Get it or read it a second time. This is critical.
In Leviticus 8, Moses dipped his finger in the blood and put it on the tip of Aaron’s right ear, on his right thumb and on the big toe of his right foot. The ear symbolizes obedience to God: first you hear, then you obey with your hands and your feet, setting yourself apart to serve God from day-to-day.
Who you listen to will impact what you do with your hands and your feet. That’s why it’s important to hear and discern what God is saying as opposed to what everyone else is saying. But that’s another day’s lesson.
For now, the question is, do you need a complete bath or do you just need to wash your feet today? God wants you to set yourself aside for His purpose—not to deny you of what the world has to offer but to approve you to offer the world something of far greater value.
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9
Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews:4:15-16